“Where have you been all my life?”
Ronald Marak Winfrey was born August 14, 1945, in Cameron, Texas to Weldon Winfrey and Rosalie (Janicek) Winfrey. He passed away peacefully on September 24, 2023 in Frederick, Maryland after an extended illness, surrounded by his loving family.
Ron grew up in Oklahoma City, as the oldest to four younger siblings: Jay, Dennis, Jeanette, and Elaine. He was their leader and protector always. He attended grade school at Corpus Christi and Sacred Heart, and graduated from Mount Saint Mary High School in 1963, serving as student council president as a senior. Ron excelled on the football field and was awarded an athletic scholarship to the University of Oklahoma by coach Bud Wilkinson. He made many friends at OU on the football team, with Air Force ROTC, and in the Physics department (yes, a standout athlete and a Physics scholar!), graduating in 1967.
While attending graduate school working toward his PhD in Physics, one summer night in 1968 in Norman, he met Margo Maidt and asked her, “Where have you been all my life?” Despite having attended rival Catholic high schools, The Mount, and Bishop McGuinness, their love blossomed. They were married in December 1971, beginning a beautiful marriage filled with love. Three sons followed: Bryan in ‘75, Benjamin in ‘77, and Barrett in ‘86.
After serving nearly three years of active duty at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, Ron and Margo, with young Bryan in tow, moved back to Oklahoma City to be closer to family. His long career in the oil and gas industry began in 1978, where he worked as a Reservoir Engineer for Ramsey Engineering. He accepted a position as a Petroleum Engineer with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC in 1999, where he reviewed the public filings of oil and gas companies. Ron was instrumental in the SEC’s modernization of oil and gas disclosure rules. He took great pride in protecting the American investor with his work, retiring in 2017.
Ron was always involved in every activity that his sons participated in. “Coach Ron,” as he was known to a multitude of young athletes, enjoyed teaching the mechanics of sport as well as the thrill of gameday competition. We cannot recall him ever saying “No” to a game of catch in the yard, a trip to the batting cages, the driving range at Lake Hefner, or an 89ers baseball game. He served as athletic director at Christ the King School for 11 years, was a consistent presence at the Catholic Grade School Athletic Association, as well as president of the booster club at Bishop McGuinness High School. Ron was an accomplished golfer himself, winning the club championship at Hefner in 1996. He was most proud of his hole in one achieved at Raspberry Falls.
We will fondly remember Dad as a loving husband, father, and grandfather, always with a strong physical presence. His strength was legendary, honed through years of early morning weightlifting sessions. Humor was ever-present in Ron’s life, whether it was a pun, one-liner, or “Dad joke”. His love of music was wide-ranged, from classical to The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, to Ray Charles and Meatloaf. Ron’s appetite was voracious, something Margo lovingly fed over the years with her wonderful cooking. Family vacations were numerous and eventful, his “shortcuts” were famously bad (“this CANNOT be the way”), and his love of his family was apparent in everything that he did.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Weldon and Rosalie Winfrey. He is survived by his wife Margo, and his three sons and their families: Bryan, wife Karen, and daughters Analee and Harper “Happy”, of Frederick, MD, Benjamin, wife Jessica, and daughter Jillian, son Brooks, of Tulsa, OK, and Barrett, wife Julie, son Warren, and daughter Winona “Winnie”, of Pasadena, MD. Survivors also include his 4 siblings, Jay, Dennis, Jeanette Jahnke, all of Norman, OK, and Elaine Winfrey of San Diego, CA, and their families. Ron also had numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, all of whom he adored.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Northampton Manor, Somerford Place, as well as the staff on 2C at Frederick Health Hospital for their loving care of Ron in his final days. Funeral Mass will be celebrated by Rev. Keith Boisvert at noon on Monday, October 2, 2023, at Saint Katharine Drexel Catholic Church in Frederick, MD. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Saint Katharine Drexel Memorial Garden Fund, 8428 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, MD 21702.